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Arizona fire crews heading to California to help fight wildfires

Posted at 10:09 PM, Nov 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-11 00:41:27-05

The Scottsdale Fire Department is sending a crew this weekend to California to help fight multiple wildfires devastating communities.

Captain Al DiBenedetto is leading the Station 62 group on the two-week trip.

“We won't know our assignment until we get to California,” he said.

But, there is plenty to do to help with the firefighting efforts.

The Scottsdale team is one of just 41 trucks that Arizona State Forestry is sending.

They will be tasked with trying to help gain control over the most destructive blaze in California history when it comes to building loss.

"We lost everything, trailers, all our belongings,” said one victim of the fires.

Roughly 7,000 homes have been destroyed in just two days, according to Cal Fire, the states firefighting agency.

“They lose everything. Their irreplaceable memorabilia, lost. Family photos, family albums, all gone,” said Captain DiBenedetto.

It's life-changing devastation that impacts the firefighters on the front lines.

“It eats on us. We wish we could save them all, but we can't,” DiBenedetto said.

Captain Al was in Napa last year helping out. He says overall; he has lost track of how many wildfires he's battled over the years.

“I can tell you this; this is my seventh one this year,” he said.

Saturday Capt. DiBenedetto and his Scottsdale firefighters will drive into the flames that so many are desperately trying to escape.

“This is the job we do, and we do it because we like helping. And it's an honor and a privilege to go and help our neighbors in California and give them a hand.”